Last weekend Hubby and I took ourselves off for a change of scenery. There is nothing wrong with Kuwait and 90% of the time we are more than happy with the laid back pace but every now and again you just need to get out. It’s not like we are party animals or twenty somethings flying off for more exciting climes twice a month and actually we like the fact there isn’t loads to do. That laid back, slower paced life that Kuwait brings is perfectly adequate for us, but I am not going to lie, a chance to go to the bright lights of Dubai has me somewhat excited.
The link to Dubai from Kuwait couldn’t be easier, with multiple flights daily across most carriers. We ultimately choose to go with FlyDubai, a EasyJet style airline that allows you to pick up some great priced tickets and endless options to suit your timing requirements. The other advantage, is that it flies from the Sheikh Saad Terminal, which allows you to bypass the chaos of the main airport, which most desert girls will know can be a challenging experience which hardly leaves you in a relaxed holiday mode. So we rocked up an hour before the flight, hand luggage only and jumped on the plane for a short hop down to civilisation.
Now my loyal readers will know that I have a theory on Dubai, which makes it the Marmite of the Middle East. Now some hate the flashy, manmade, Disneyfied Arabia that this place has to offer, but I love it. The vibe is so cool and I love that you can do anything, whatever your tastes or mood you can find it. It couldnt be more of a contrast from Kuwait, even on the drive from the airport you immediately know “you are not in Kansas anymore” as you see skyscrapers, public transport, finished walkways and a city ready to go. I guess my main gripe with Kuwait versus Dubai is that Dubai is FINISHED or if they have started a building project you can guartantee that when next visit it will be completed. None of this Inshallah attitude to progression or holding back from developing into 2017 country or a tourist destination, instead we have pockets of greatness in Kuwait and buckets of iffiness.
Upon our arrival Hubby and I decided to do a quick pit stop to Mall of Emirates. We certainly didn’t want to spend all day shopping, but I was in desperate need for a bikini (anyone noticed this seems to be like hunting for the holy grail in Kuwait this season?!) and thought the sunshine, tourist emirate would be more likely to be geared up. Anyway I digress, I wasn’t excited about the swimwear purchase, like most women this is a painful experience each summer, but we got very eager to jump on the tram and metro. Now this isn’t because we have never ridden one, but quite frankly because we could! The ability to be able to just jump on air conditioned, cheap, brilliantly operated public transport, is one of those things that is so simple and yet brings such joy (geek alert!).
Expats around the world will all have little things that you take for granted, when they are at your disposal, and the moment they are taken away from you, in your adjustment to life abroad, you crave the norm. This seemed to sum up the entire weekend actually. We used Dubai to be able to do all those little things we can’t do in our little corner of the Gulf and get our “fix” settling ourselves back into expat life, after a bit of indulgence.
The simple things that can carry you through, pick you up and remind you that desert life doesn’t need to be all that random.
So lets talk about the elephant in the room, the main reason us expats, tend to gravitate to Dubai and get Insta happy to all our friends when we are there…..a Drink. I know, I know its not the be all and end all and don’t get me wrong Hubby and I are not big drinkers, but the luxury of enjoying a meal with a glass of wine is something we occasionally miss. Then make this meal a proper British roast dinner, then we are sold. I’m sorry but in that moment things couldn’t get any better.
Lying on a public beach, doesnt seem like a big deal does it? My inner island girl takes this for granted, with summers on the beach and being able to hit the sand at a moments notice if the weather turns, so having that restriction was a hard one for me. Luckily we were able to join a beach club to take advantage of the desert weather and top up our tans no issue, but without this expensive luxury it would just not be possible in Kuwait. So when in Dubai, being able to just stroll onto the JBR beach, swim in the sea was holiday mode 101.
Not having to think about what I am wearing gives the fashionista inside me, permission to go all out. I am not over thinking the length of dresses or is it too booby! I was even able to get my shorts out. Now I am still conscious I am in a Muslim country (although plenty of tourists aren’t ) and I think my years desertside have made me far more conservative and mindful to be respectful of the culture I am living in, but just to have that little bit of freedom, without looking like a tramp or over thinking every outfit is refreshing for those few days.
There maybe many things Dubai has to offer over Kuwait and on our descent back to the sandpit Hubby and I did joke about the stark contrast “back to the reality” but I am really happy to be back. There is only so much of that constant on-the-go you can take and whilst I love Dubai, Kuwait somehow feels more real. It can be hard, very random and sometimes can drive you to distraction, but its authentic and after all home.